Friday, July 24, 2009

Building a mansion with a hammer and nails

I know it can be done, technically. But who does it anymore? Power tools, digging machines, electricity, scaffolding, gorilla glue and all kinds of modern technology. Can you really build a mansion with just a hammer and nails?

That is how I have come to see my roll as a parent. I am building a mansion, with a maze of rooms and spiral stairs and secret entrances and grand rooms fit for a queen. And yet, I'm doing it with some 2x4s, a box of 1" nails and a hammer.


Ok, maybe that's dramatic. They do grow up, they learn somehow, they get taller, smarter and wiser. Often, it seems, in spite of me.

But my kids have gone hay-wire the last week or two. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm hormonal or extra-selfish. But I watch them and see how their mis-behaviors are mostly direct results of my parenting. They do things just the way I trained them to-and it's ugly! Sometimes I get a glimpse of what it should look like-their behavior and heart attitutes, and Drew and I's parenting techniques. But then I get soo overwhelmed by what is expected of me. I look down at my parenting tool belt and all I see is a hammer and some nails! Yikes!

I take the Bible to be my final authority-on all matters. Now granted, I don't know it nearly well enough to understand it fully, but I do approach it daily bathed in prayer for the Holy Spirit to guide me to truths he knows I need to hear and understand. I truly believe that is the proper approach and most days, I do just that. But, in my searching and reading and studying so far, I have come across very little specific advice for parenting. I am currently in Romans and have so far, seen MUCH more in the Bible about food and drink then specific guidance for parenting.

Now, I obviously believe that proper bodily nourishment is important. But, compared to the overall job of parenting, it's minor! So why would God give us so few instructions on the incredibly difficult and important role of parenting? They are there, Deuteronmy 6 tells us we are to teach our children about God all day and night. Spare the rod, spoil the child (it's extra true in our house, as Grampy's name is Rod and he spoils the grandkids rotten! :) ). Don't provoke a child to wrath... There are some specific verse on parenting, but oh so precious few. And for such an important job! Give me some power tools here God! If I am to do such an incredibly important job as to raise up and train a child to know and love the Lord, to have good manners, to show the fruits of the spirit, to be polite and selfless, to eat well and be disciplined, etc. Shouldn't I be given a lot more to work with? I can't do half of those things myself for goodness sake!

Have I repeated myself? I do that a lot.

Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to see how I CAN build, with the Holy Spirit's help of course, my two precious children's 'mansions' with just a hammer and nails.

This isn't a great analogy, but it sorta works...

Maybe my hammer is my own personal growth-in all areas. Spiritual, nutritional, physical (hopefully NOT there so much for me), relational, mental, emotional, etc. I feel that part is sadly neglected. I bought the cheapest hammer at Wal-Mart I could find and now I'm trying real hard to fortify it. But I can only do what I can do, and trust the Lord to come along side and pick up the slack.

The nails are the time we spend together, day in and day out. Interacting in special times one-on-one, times around the table, cooking, doing a craft project or coloring. Playing games or building blocks. Going to the park, fishing, caring for a sick friend or helping to clean an elderly person's house. Deuteronomy 6:7 sums it up nicely...You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

So really, it seems, to be a Godly parent, I need to saturate myself with Scripture and prayer and then just live day to day with them, letting it 'ooze out of me', or 'bang the nails' so to speak.

So why isn't it working?!?

I guess all I can do is stay in the Word (and read lots of parenting books and talk to lots of parents-again-all bathed in prayer of course) and continue to seek out ways to pass along what I am learning to my kids-through our every day lives.

When I think of it that way, I'm so glad I'm not going to send them off to school for someone else to teach them all those things. 18 years doesn't seem nearly long enough to pass along the necessary info to them!

Maybe I need a pink tool belt... :)

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